Gary Brewer and crew get Mapes deal

Kentuckian Gary Brewer knows how to run a family business. Together with his dad and his sons, Brewer runs a farm, a Tae-Kwon-Do academy, and a bluegrass band. And it’s not just the menfolk. The Brewer ladies are knee-deep in the businesses as well. 

The family also hosts regular bluegrass concerts in Shepherdsville each Friday night during the winter months. Touring artists come in for shows at the Sherherdsville Music Barn where Gary and his band, The Kentucky Ramblers, open up the festivities, followed by a set from the featured guests.

The Kentucky Ramblers are Gary on guitar, his dad, Finley also on guitar, with sons Wayne on bass, and Mason on mandolin. Ethan Vivian is the lone non-Brewer, and he plays banjo.

This week they also have news about a new artist endorsement the band has received, with Mapes Guitar Strings. And this one is really going to the source.

Mapes actually manufactures most of the wire used by other string companies in the US, and a large portion of the piano wire used in stringing and restringing pianos. Located in Elizabethton, TN, Mapes piano wire is installed on nearly every new piano you’ll find in stores. They also sell bulk wire to other string companies, who they then wrap and package as they may see fit.

Gary Brewer & The Kentucky Ramblers with their Mapes Strings

But Mapes also makes strings for guitar, mandolin, banjo, reso-guitar, pedal steel, and dulcimer. Most are offered in a variety of wrap and gauge options, including stainless steel, nickel, or phosphor bronze. Since they make all the wire themselves, the pricing is quite competitive compared to the most popular strings you may be accustomed to using.

Gary says that they became acquainted with the company by visiting the factory several times, and getting to know the people there. Now, he says that, ​”Mapes is our choice of strings for all of our instruments, on the road and in the studio.”

Ask them about Mapes when you see them along the way. They have free posters to give out at their shows.

A new Gary Brewer & The Kentucky Ramblers album is nearly completed, called Vintage Country Revival. A debut single with an exciting special guest is expected soon. Keep an eye out for that in the near future.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.